Residents hit out at roadworks disruption in West Cork

Residents hit out at roadworks disruption in West Cork

Residents on a narrow stretch of a West Cork road have hit out at the disruption caused by ongoing roadworks in the area.

The N71 Kenmare Road between the tunnel at the Caha Pass and the Barley lake turn has been subject to a full road closure since mid-February to facilitate road resurfacing works as part of the N71 Canrooska Pavement Strengthening Scheme.

Residents have until 8am each day to leave their homes and after this time, access depends on where the paving train is located and when works stop.

Several residents contacted the Irish Examiner to criticise the extent of the road closures and what some described as unreasonable expectations regarding property access.

Some days, access has been blocked until late evening, with the current diversions taking up to an hour for some residents.

They say there has been insufficient contact regarding the works and that they often have little notice about when they will be able to access their homes in the evenings.

Working hours are communicated via a WhatsApp group established by the contractors.

Residents hit out at roadworks disruption in West Cork

Aileen Slein said residents have been left in the dark. She said residents understand the roadworks are needed but they are seeking a second agreed access time in the evenings.

"All we are asking for is in each day two fixed access times so we can get to school and work without wondering when we leave if we will get home without delays and which way should we go," she said.

John Prendergast criticised the interaction by Cork County Council and the contractors.

"This is a section of road where families live," he said. "I am supposed to leave at 8am each day and nobody call tell me when I can get back.

The process is flawed. It is appropriate for motorway works, not narrow national roads that have houses along them.

A spokesperson for Cork County Council said the road closure was necessary due to the existing road being "on average just under 5m wide".

"When laying the hot material, the paving train is taking up the full width of the road, making it impossible to allow any traffic to pass. After the material is laid, it requires time for compaction and cooling which could be a couple of hours.

"This material is 140 degrees Celsius when laid on the road so it requires a period to cool and this varies with the ambient temperature."

The contractor McSweeney Bros Contracts Ltd issued a letter drop and erected flashing messaging signs with notifications of the works, according to the Council.

"The contractor has informed all residents that they have unhindered access up to 8am and after that, access to individual properties will depend on where the paving train is.

"They can then access their properties from the Kenmare or Glengarriff end of the project."

Works are on course to finish March 16, according to the Council.

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